“Rock and roll is not an instrument. It’s not even a style of music. It’s a spirit. That’s what connects us all.” ~ Ice Cube at the induction ceremony for NWA (the 31st overall ceremony in 2016)
Established in 1983, music’s hallowed Hall of Fame celebrates musicians, producers, technicians, and other notable people. Located at 1100 Rock and Roll Boulevard in Cleveland, Ohio, many of the Hall’s past induction ceremonies also took place in Los Angeles, but this exclusive retail home video set (as well as all future induction ceremonies) alternates between Public Hall in Cleveland and the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
The DVD (4 Discs; $34.99 suggested price) and Blu-ray (2 Discs; $39.99) sets offer a high amount of music history among the four ceremonies from 2014 to 2017 (the 29th to 32nd). This Blu-ray version reviewed here contains 674 minutes of great material.
The 53 live performances include Cheap Trick, Chicago, Deep Purple, Electric Light Orchestra (ELO), Peter Gabriel, Green Day, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Journey, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ringo Starr, Rush, and Yes plus rare collaborative performances, celebrity appearances, special honorary speeches, and more.
Bruce Springsteen joining inductees E Street Band on “E Street Shuffle.” Annie Clark, Kim Gordon, Joan Jett, and Lorde join in on Nirvana’s inducting performance with the two surviving members Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic. The Red Hot Chili Peppers performing Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground” with Billie Joe Armstrong, George Clinton, Slash, and Ronnie Wood. These are just some of the memorable performance highlights in this quality home video set.
Pearl Jam’s performance also ranked high on my list along with David Letterman’s declaration that the band is “a true living cultural organism.” Their set including “Alive,” “Better Man,” and “Given to Fly” impress with energy, raw talent and driving emotion.
At the 30th induction ceremony, Ringo Starr’s inducting performance with Paul McCartney and Joe Walsh on “It Don’t Come Easy” and “I Wanna Be Your Man” plus “Boys” with Green Day rocked the house and ended the 30th induction ceremony as Green Day energized the middle with “American Idiot,” “When I Come Around,” and “Basket Case” after a great beginning set from Joan Jett & The Blackhearts with “Bad Reputation,” “Cherry Bomb,” and Crimson and Clover.”
Some bittersweet performances included Journey performing three classics: “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart),” “Lights” and “Don’t Stop Believin'” without long time lead singer Steve Perry though he did share the stage with them. Patti Smith accepted for Lou Reed’s induction, John Mayer inducting Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble with Jimmie Vaughan accepting on behalf of his brother Stevie and Peter Wolf inducting The Paul Butterfield Blues Band with Elvin Bishop and Lee Butterfield accepting on behalf of his father Paul Butterfield.
Cat Stevens’s performance of “Father & Son” provides nice variety among the louder, rock anthems, but is no less powerful. Joan Baez continued her social activist causes among her folk song performances like “Deportee (Plane Wreck at Los Gatos).
Memorable reunion performances include original Cheap Trick drummer Bun E. Carlos joining the band for the first time in six years on “Dream Police” and “Surrender” and original members of Chicago performing together for the first time in 25 years.
Complete Hall of Fame Induction speeches including Coldplay’s Chris Martin inducting Peter Gabriel, Stevie Wonder inducting Bill Withers, Metallica’s Lars Ulrich inducting Deep Purple and Steven Van Zandt accepting the Ahmet Ertegun lifetime achievement award for Songwriter, producer and record label executive Bert Berns.
One of the biggest omissions was guitarist/producer Nile Rodgers’ acceptance of the Award for Musical Excellence at the 32nd induction ceremony…for himself, not for his 11-time nominated band Chic, but at least Snoop Dogg’s acceptance speech on behalf of Tupac Shakur was included. It’s unfortunate NWA did not perform at the 31st induction ceremony because this set would have benefited from even more variety.
Home video audiences only get the highlighted and chosen experiences here. It’s always a nice advantage to avoid long waits, sounds issues and high costs though sometimes there is nothing like a live performance. This set does a great job capturing the moments that honor expert musicianship that satisfies audiences on several levels.
Emmylou Harris, Bonnie Raitt, Stevie Nicks, Sheryl Crow and Carrie Underwood performed well supporting Linda Ronstadt at the 29th Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in 2014 on “It’s So Easy” The remaining songs in that memorable set are “Blue Bayou,” “Different Drum,” “You’re No Good,” and “When Will I Be Loved.”
My personal favorite on this set, Peter Gabriel, summed up music the best with the following quote:
Watch out for music – it should come with a health warning. It can be dangerous. It can make you feel so alive, so connected to the people all around you and connected to what you really are inside. And it can make you think that the world could and should be a much better place. And just occasionally, it can make you very, very happy.
This highly recommended set (***1/2 out of four star) has an excellent DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio mix, but unfortunately no optional English subtitles or SDH captions. An included booklet provides a physical list of content for viewers. No bonus features here, but if you’re looking for more music then Time Life also offers the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in Concert Digital Album Collection – five digital releases respectively spanning the ceremonies from 2010-11, 2012-13, 2014, 2015 and 2016-7 (each at a suggest retail price of $9.99). This collection includes same groundbreaking live performances from these home video sets plus bonus performances from Rush, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Alice Cooper, Donovan, Dr. John, Heart, The Hollies, Darlene Love, Leon Russell, Small Faces/Faces, The Stooges, Tom Waits and others. The digital releases will be available on iTunes, Amazon and all other leading digital retailers.
Copyright © Michael Siebenaler